Community Histories Workshop
Digital Loray

Digital Loray

Digital Loray curates the long, complex history of Gastonia, North Carolina’s iconic Loray Mill and the surrounding mill village. We use digital tools and technologies to tell the human stories of this place, from the Loray’s opening as a textile mill in 1902, through its operation as a Firestone plant between 1935 and 1993, to its renovation and reopening as a mixed-use development in 2015. As a public history project, our goal was to engage members of the Loray, Firestone, and mill village communities—past and present, local and distant—as active participants in our work.

Digital Loray Projects

To learn more about each project in this initiative, click on the project icon or title.


Interactive timelines provide a glimpse into the history of the Loray mill, drawing from (and providing access to) newspaper articles and oral history interviews,

Digital Archive

The Loray Digital Archive is an online collection of digital materials that document the long history of the Loray mill, Firestone plant, and mill village in west Gastonia.

Interactive Map

The Mill Village in 1920 interactive map allows viewers to search the 1920 census records of the Loray Mill village and its inhabitants, as well as view Sanborn Fire Maps.

Household Spotlights

Household spotlights provide in-depth looks at different Loray Mill employees and their families, tracing them through genealogical and historical records.